Kansas News Service

The Kansas News Service produces essential enterprise reporting, diving deep and connecting the dots regarding the policies, issues and and events that affect the health of Kansans and their communities. The team is based at KCUR and collaborates with KMUW and public media stations across Kansas.

The Kansas News Service is made possible by a group of funding organizations, led by the Kansas Health Foundation. Other funders include United Methodist Health Ministry Fund, Sunflower Foundation, REACH Healthcare Foundation and the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City. Additional support comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

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Kansas Seniors Feeling Effects Of Budget Cuts

Jun 7, 2016
Mabel Lamour/Belma/ReineMab / flickr Creative Commons

Recent cuts made to a program that helps Kansas seniors stay out of nursing homes are starting to have an impact: The cuts are forcing seniors onto waiting lists for services.

The cuts are a small part of about $80 million in reductions Republican Gov. Sam Brownback was forced to make last month. But they’re have a big impact on a program that provides care for seniors, helping them in and out of bathtubs and keeping their apartments clean.

The 11 Area Agencies on Aging that administer the program across the state have started wait-listing seniors.

New Hope For A Struggling Hospital In Southwest Kansas

May 6, 2016
Bryan Thompson / Heartland Health Monitor

A southwest Kansas hospital on the verge of having to close its doors appears to have a new lease on life, thanks to a new management contract with an Oklahoma company.

Jim McLean / Heartland Health Monitor

Finding a way to balance the state budget is job one for Kansas lawmakers in the final weeks of the legislative session. But dozens of other bills remain in play, including one aimed at lowering KanCare costs by limiting patient access to expensive drugs.

Geary, Riley Counties Top Kansas Food Insecurity List

Apr 29, 2016
Feeding America

A new study of food insecurity finds some familiar patterns in Kansas. But as Heartland Health Monitor’s Bryan Thompson explains, there are also a few surprises.

Every year when the County Health Rankings are published, they show southeast Kansas and Wyandotte County as having persistent problems with poverty. So it should come as no surprise that those same places have a high degree of food insecurity—defined as a lack of reliable access to adequate food.

THE HEALTH INEQUALITY PROJECT

A new study confirms that when it comes to life expectancy, income matters: The richest American men live 15 years longer than the poorest men, and the richest American women live 10 years longer than the poorest women. But the study also contains some surprises.

The report in the Journal of the American Medical Association found the poor in some geographical areas live nearly as long as their wealthier neighbors while the longevity gap is widening in other geographical areas.

http://www.kancare.ks.gov

A new report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says approximately 34,000 Kansans could get treatment for mental illness or substance abuse disorders if the state would agree to expand its Medicaid program, known as KanCare.

Amy Campbell is a lobbyist for the Kansas Mental Health Coalition, which represents a wide range of Kansans with an interest in mental health. She thinks coverage through KanCare might help relieve some of the pressure on the state mental hospitals.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Selling bonds to generate a large amount of cash from the state’s tobacco settlement remains a budget balancing option. But there appears to be growing opposition to the idea in the Legislature.

State budget director Shawn Sullivan says no deal is under discussion. But he says trading years of steady tobacco payments for hundreds of millions in up-front cash remains an option if the state’s budget problems continue to worsen.

But opposition to the idea appears to be growing on both sides of the legislative aisle.

Dave Ranney, Heartland Health Monitor

Documents obtained by a child advocacy organization show that representatives of a Wall Street firm met with Kansas officials about bonding the state’s tobacco settlement last fall.

Kansas Action for Children President Shannon Cotsoradis says a document her organization obtained from a national business reporter confirms that a plan for bonding the state’s tobacco settlement is under discussion.

Bryan Thompson / Heartland Health Monitor

For people with developmental disabilities, finding a job can be difficult. Sheltered workshops were created to provide work for them in a setting protected from competition in the marketplace. But some advocates say this system too often traps workers, and exploits them as a source of low-wage labor for employers.

Matthew Cunnelly, flickr Creative Commons

The head of a nonprofit organization that advocates for children is blowing the whistle on plans to raise some quick cash for the state treasury by selling the state’s tobacco settlement. State officials say no deal has been struck.

Shannon Cotsoradis, the president of Kansas Action for Children, says she has reason to believe that Gov. Sam Brownback wants to securitize a settlement reached decades ago to end a lawsuit against the nation’s major tobacco companies.

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